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Tiffany Mountain via Freezeout Ridge

North Cascades

Location

North Cascades -- Pasayten
View map below

Length

4.2 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1685 ft.
Highest Point: 8245 ft.

Rating

4.23 out of 5

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Start at one of the higher trailheads in the state (6560 feet) and follow the trail even higher. In early summer, if the thinner air doesn't take your breath away, the flowers and views will.

Start by going through a classic barbed wire fence gate, a reminder that this is summer grazing country. After the gate, the trail passes through a forest, burnt silver and black forest by the 2006 Tripod Fire. Your route roughly follows Freezeout Ridge, eventually climbing out of the fire zone and into meadows at 1 mile and 7300 feet of elevation. In early summer, the next section of trail is a flower garden of paintbrush, asters, & lupine, quite similar to the red, white, and blue for July 4th. For a few years, there was even a guided flower walk on this trail.

At 1.6 miles is a junction with the first of two informal trails to the top of Tiffany Mountain. To the right is the continuation of the Freezeout Ridge trail as it traverses to Whistler Pass. To the left is an obvious trail up the south side of Tiffany Mountain. It climbs through grass and lichen covered rocks, reaching the 8245-foot summit at 2.1 miles from the trailhead.

The 360-degree views from the summit include the North Cascades to the west, the Loup Loup Pass area to the south, the Okanogan Highlands to the east, and peaks in British Columbia to the north. Little Tiffany Lake and Tiffany Lake are down to the northwest. From here, the local view of silver and black trees has a few pockets of green that survived the 2006 fire, and now you can even see your car at the trailhead.

The expansive views pretty well explains the use of Tiffany Mountain as a lookout from 1931 to 1953. But now, all that remains are many rusty nails, a few anchors, and the fire sight mounting post.

Once on top, there are two ways to descend. One is to return the way you came. The other is to head east from the summit and follow the informal trail for 0.7 mile down to Whistler Pass at 7580 feet. From the pass, turn right and follow the Freezeout Ridge trail 2.1 miles back to the trailhead.

Extending your Hike: The description thus far has primarily been for the early to mid-summer hikers, but this hike can be done in late spring, as soon as the road is snowfree. In this season, snowshoes may be useful and care should be taken at the summit, as large cornices overhang the steep north side of the ridge. The traverse section of the Freezeout Ridge trail to Whistler Pass has a couple of steep chutes with that hold snow into early summer.

In fall, there are larch on the north side of the mountain that provide some fall color. In late fall, there is a narrow time window where you can drive to Freezeout Pass, or near it, and snowshoe the shorter route to the top of Tiffany Mountain.

 

Tiffany Mountain via Freezeout Ridge

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.6630, -119.9648 Open map in new window

Trailhead

North Cascades -- Pasayten

Freezeout Ridge (#345), Tiffany Mountain (#345)

Colville National Forest, Tonasket Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: North Cascades (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

100 Hikes in the North Cascades National Park Region (Spring & Manning)

USGS Topographic - Tiffany Mt. (7.5 min quadrangle)

RightMAP! - East Methow

Buy the Green Trails Tiffany Mountain No. 53 map

Getting There

From the four-way stop in Winthrop, go northwest on Riverside Avenue. It loops around the west end of Winthrop where it becomes Bluff Street. At the city limits, it becomes East Chewuch Road. Follow this for 5.8 miles and bear right onto USFS Road 37 (don't cross the Chewuch River). In 1.2 miles, USFS Road 37 crosses Boulder Creek and bears right to climb up the Boulder Creek valley. In 11.5 miles, turn left onto USFS Road 39 (don't continue toward Conconully). The road quality degrades significantly as it climbs up past Rogers Lake and then on to Freezeout Pass (cattle guard at elevation 6560 feet). There is parking on the right for about 5 cars.

 

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Tiffany Mountain via Freezeout Ridge

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